Y'all. I made a coat. I am seriously amazed and pleased:
I impressed The Carpenter into taking some photos this morning:
I can't believe this coat turned out exactly as I envisioned:
Here's the back:
The lining ended up being easy to sew, plus it makes the coat feel luxurious:
A few notes about the push for the end. Hemming this coat ended up being not as bad as I feared, given the skirt on this thing. The skirt edge of this coat is curved, so the raw edge is longer in length than the coat itself. I ran long basting stitches along the raw edge of the skirt in order to gather up the bottom of the hem to the coat. (Gertie shows you how to do this here.) I used my longest stitch (stitch length 5 on my Bernina) and I used red thread in my bobbin, so as to better see the bobbin stitches that needed to be pulled (I used a safety pin to pull up the bobbin stitches). Using matching thread would have made it extremely difficult to see the bobbin stitches.
Then I turned up the hem 1 1/2 inches and pressed the curved hem. The camelhair wool cooperated beautifully, as it has for this entire project. I'll admit that this is the first time I have ever actually gathered a curved hem like this - when I'm making a dress that calls for this sort of hemming technique, I just put a smaller hem in it using hem tape and call it a day. But I wasn't going to get away with that on this heavier and deeper hem. Fortunately, it all worked wonderfully.
Then, instead of handstitching the hem to the coat, I used my blind hem stitch and did it by machine. Much, much faster. Then I pressed and steamed the heck out of it.
Last were the buttons - I used the button thread I previously purchased and they went on with no problem. And I was done! With the exception of sewing the "Gorgeous Fabrics" label into the coat and doing the little bit of hand sewing on the bound edge of the skirt facing to the hem. I'll do that tonight, but I wanted to go ahead and get photos now, since The Carpenter and I are leaving tomorrow for Italy for vacation. I won't be taking the coat (the temps aren't going to justify lugging this to Italy), but when we get back it will be late autumn and I'll need it.
Last thoughts on this project: I realize that by coat standards, this was an easy coat. The shawl collar is very easy. But the full skirt does make this coat a challenge - more to cut out, more fabric to buy, more coat to shove through the sewing machine as you finish the back of the buttonholes, etc. If you are rank beginner, a shawl collar coat with less of a skirt might be a better choice. On the other hand, you have Gertie's step-by-step instructions, which are wonderful and I believe made my completion of this project possible.
Also, for those who are shorter in height, the skirt on this coat might overwhelm you. I realize that at 5'5'' with a fairly standard frame I am lucky that this coat fits me right out of the envelope with no alterations needed.
This coat was an experiment for me in "slow sewing" which I'm not used to. I think taking my time on this project also made the completion possible. Beginning in the spring, when coatings go on sale is a good strategy. I cut out and constructed the outer part of the coat before the hottest part of the summer began, and then I picked it up again in October when it got cooler, but before I needed it, which I believe is excellent timing. I simply could not work on this coat in the heat of the summer, no matter how much the air conditioning was cranking - this wool was just to hot to handle.
All my post on this coat are here. I'm so pleased I want to make another coat!!! (Not with this pattern - I think one of these is enough - but my confidence level has been boosted.) I'll definitely plan another coat come this spring. : )